The 10 Best Theater Popcorn Machines

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Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive

This wiki has been updated 4 times since it was first published in April of 2020. Big-screen TVs and a variety of streaming platforms have made watching films at home more enjoyable than ever, but it's not quite the same as the cineplex. These movie theater popcorn makers deliver the iconic smell and sound you need to recreate that authentic filmgoing experience. From small home models to larger commercial popping machines, we have included a variety of options. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best theater popcorn machine on Amazon.

10. Carnus Home

9. Great Northern Popper

8. Great Northern Pop Pup

7. Paragon Theater Pop

6. Paramount Red

5. Olde Midway Vintage

4. Superior Hot and Fresh

3. Nostalgia Professional

2. Paramount Machine Popper

1. Paragon Contempo

Editor's Notes

May 02, 2020:

When choosing a theater popcorn machine, it's important to figure out how frequently you’ll be using it, how much popcorn you’ll be needing, as well as how much space you have available. These options represent a wide range of both physical size as well as output abilities, so it can be easy to end up with the wrong choice if you’re not careful.

If you know you’ll be making a lot of popcorn, frequently, one of the more heavy-duty Paragon models would be ideal, like the Paragon Theater Pop, or Paragon Contempo. These are both commercial quality models that are built to last, with strong tempered glass doors and heavy-duty steel frames. If you have a busy in-home theater that hosts movie nights or birthday parties, run a concession stand or bar, or if you just love popcorn and want to make it every day, these would be a great choice. They are very heavy machines though, so they’re not as portable as one of our smaller models.

For those who only see themselves making popcorn once in a while, one of the more lightweight models would be a better choice. These machines, like the Carnus Home and the Great Northern Pop Pup, tend to have more plastic components that aren’t really designed for constant operation, though they should be fine for occasional use.

Depending on the quantity of popcorn you’ll be needing, you’ll want to choose the correct size kettle. The larger the kettle, the more unpopped kernels it can fit, and the less you’ll have to keep filling it up during use. That said, if you don’t need a large kettle, you could find yourself with a ton of leftover popcorn. One of our smaller kettle sizes, like the 2.5 oz Great Northern Pop Pup would be great for small batches for one or two people, while our bigger kettles, like the 16 oz Paramount Machine Popper, or 10-ounce Nostalgia Professional, are more suited to large groups of people.

When it comes to size, you’ll need to make sure you either have the room to add a permanent fixture to your counter, or the cabinet space to store a machine away when not in use. If you have neither, one of the 3 cart-style designs might be better suited for you. By sitting on their own wheeled base, these machines don’t require anything but floor space to sit on. They do make a little more of a visual statement though, so you’ll want to make sure they don’t look out of place in your home. All of our cart-style options have the option of detaching the machine from the base and being used as countertop models too, though you will have to store the wheeled base somewhere.

The hot oil that these machines use can be extremely dangerous if it comes in contact with exposed skin, and small children should never be left unsupervised while in use. The metal kettle and glass doors can become very hot as well, so always use the appropriate knobs and handles when operating the machine or opening the doors and trays.

If a theater popcorn machine isn't exactly what you're looking for, consider a hot air popcorn popper. They don't have the storage capacity that theater machines do, but they are much more portable and take up less room.

Alexander Rennie
Last updated on May 05, 2020 by Alexander Rennie

Alex Rennie is a writer from Los Angeles, CA, and holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Missouri. Having been a successful residential and commercial carpenter for six years in New York City, he has a comprehensive knowledge of woodworking, power tools, and the world of home DIY. His passion for construction and carpentry keep him up to date on the latest gadgets and techniques, and he never misses an opportunity to patch up a drywall dent or sand down a rough edge. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking the Santa Monica mountains with his family and their dogs, and fostering rescue animals.

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